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Using Technology to ACTUALLY Make Your Life Easier

Posted By Tyler Graybeal, Co-Owner Southern Outdoor Restoration, Wednesday, April 8, 2020
The world of technology and software is changing every day.  The volume of options and the rate of change can be overwhelming.  
At SOR, we're not just pressure washers.  We're also nerds.  Nerds who love efficiency, consistency, and happy community managers.
Our team pressure washed over 16,000 townhome units last year and we'd like to share with you two pieces of the technology/software used to deliver smooth projects that you can easily apply to other services and projects in your communities.
For everyone that has worked with us, you know that we LOVE and rely heavily on Google Maps.
1) Use Google Maps when on the Google Chrome browser (other browser options are not optimized to run the mapping software).
2) Use Google StreetView, the 3D options, and the 360 rotation tools 
3) Build your own maps by going to "Google Maps > Menu > Your Places > Maps > Create a Map."  Then use the "Share" feature for internal and external use.
- Creating a scope map for your vendors (such as a map of the trees that need pruning) to ensure apples-to-apples bids
- Checking which units might need gutter cleaning more often based on tree lines
- Confirming unit counts
- Creating a color-coded schedule map for the annual termite inspection
- Showing new residents where amenities such as playground and walking trails/bridges are
- Creating paint phases in a platform that everyone can access (manager, board, residents, current vendor, future vendor)

Digital communication is great.  It can be easily searched, copied/pasted, compiled, analyzed, and reported on.

1) Find a platform that has a spreadsheet export or integration option.  Having data is very different from using data.  Google Forms, Wufoo, and TypeForm are all great options here.
2) Use specific "Field Types" such as address, phone number, count, multiple choice, and checkboxes whenever possible.  Doing so will allow you to more easily use the data from your submissions.
3) Be consistent with your method of delivery.  Whether it's email, TownSq, Nabor, a Community Website through CINC, or texting, make sure your residents are used to getting info from you the same way every time.  
- Highest and best use here is to get a Resident Question/Comment form built for every large project and have it routed to the vendor!  You are already going to forward the resident email you get to the vendor and say "See below.  Please advise."  Save everyone the extra time and headache.  Trust good vendors to handle the communication promptly and professionally.
- Board Member nominations
- ARC Requests
- Anything where you are sending a paper form that you have to transcribe into a different system later!
In the world where Amazon and Uber are essentially public utilities, there is a growing expectation for real-time transparency during the fulfillment of any project or service.  The innovation work has already been done by the software developers in Silicon Valley.  The burden of implementation is on us.
"The best way to predict the future is to create it."
- Peter Drucker 

Tags:  cai-nc  cai-nc minute  comm  community association management 

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